Murder Defendant Appointed New Counsel as Prosecutors Prepare to Retry Case

Less than a month after a murder trial ended with jurors unable to reach a verdict, the defendant requested new counsel as prosecutors gear up to re-try the case.

Chad Hawthorne is charged with first-degree murder while armed, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence and unlawful possession of a firearm with a prior conviction. Prosecutors allege the 41-year-old shot 35-year-old Antonio Bassett in an apartment on the 3900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, on May 22, 2017.  The jurors in his recent trial deliberated for more than a week but could not come to a decision on any of his charges.

During an April 13 status hearing, DC Superior Court Judge Marisa Demeo was informed of strategic disagreements between Hawthorne and his attorneys, Steven Kiersh and Megan Allburn.

After hearing from the defendant, Judge Demeo warned him of the pros and cons of replacing his counsel. New attorneys, she noted, would not necessarily know the case as well as those who were with him for the trial. Still, she agreed to appoint him new lawyers.

Jonathan Zucker and Dorsey Jones will be replacing Hawthorne’s previous attorneys. An ascertainment of counsel hearing is scheduled for April 21. In the meantime, a motion for the defendant’s release from DC Jail awaits a ruling.